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Stock Downgrades: Microsoft Corporation's Woes Extend Way Beyond the Surface


Wall Street ratings agencies set the tone for today's stock market.

Detroit's fabled 8 Mile entered Chapter 9, yet stocks still scored a perfect 10. Shares hit fresh historic highs, helped by a 4.37% advance to a multi-year high in Morgan Stanley (MS). Its 54-year old James Gorman has clearly aged far better than Barbie, another product of 1959. Fresh from sliding an S&P 500 (^GSPC)-worst 6% plus on Wednesday, Mattel (MAT) wakes up to a ratings reduction this morning. Elsewhere, an unloved eBay Inc. (EBAY) imploded 6.73% to post the Nasdaq-100′s (INDEXNASDAQ:NDX) poorest performance. (Its stock has still not fallen as low as some of the company's customers, however.) The hoodie at the head of Facebook (FB) endured a 1.76% fall, and over at Microsoft (MSFT), Amy Hood has had better days as her stock slides 7.53% before the bell.

No top-tier economic data due today, but the first full week of Q2 reporting season concludes with earnings expected out of Baker Hughes (BHI), General Electric (GE), Honeywell (HON), Ingersoll-Rand (IR), Rockwell Collins (COL), Schlumberger (SLB), Vodafone (VOD), and Whirlpool (WHR).

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): Morgan Stanley moves the stock, falling more than 4% as I write, to Underweight from Equal Weight.

AthenaHealth (ATHN): Shares are lowered to Neutral from Buy at Lazard.

Fairchild Semiconductor (FCS): FBR Capital cuts the company to Perform from Outperform, trimming its target price by $2 to $14 amid plunging orders for personal computers.

HSBC Holdings (HBC): The financial firm is lower in today's London trading after Investec reduced its rating to Hold from Buy.

Intuitive Surgical (ISRG): The slumping owner of da Vinci robots is reduced to Underperform from Perform at JMP Securities.

Mattel (MAT): The beleaguered Barbie maker gets moved to Market Perform from Outperform by BMO Capital Markets.

Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): The key Dow (^DJI) component, slumping some 7.53% as we speak, is cut to Perform from Outperform at Raymond James. Last night's earnings announcement revealed a $900 million write-down on its Surface tablet.

Mosaic (MOS): The fertilizer firm is now Neutral from Buy at Susquehanna.

Omnicom Group (OMC): RBC Capital cuts the advertising giant to Sector Perform from Outperform.

Panera Bread (PNRA): Raymond James reduces its rating to Underperform from Market Perform.

Remy Cointreau (REMYF): JP Morgan cuts the French cognac king to Underweight from Equal Weight.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS): Shares are slashed to Hold from Buy at Investec.

SAP AG (SAP): The German enterprise software giant gets downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan.

SHFL Entertainment (SHFL): Shares, no longer trading on fundamentals after being bought, are now Hold from Buy at Brean Capital. (STMP): A second downgrade of the week for the stock, now Neutral from Buy at Roth Capital.

Stryker (SYK): The medical device maker is moved to Hold from Buy with Wunderlich, whose price objective is $71. Earnings per share fell short of consensus estimates.

Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM): HSBC Securities takes the tech stock to Neutral from Overweight.

Technip (TKPPY): Shares get downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Don't Expect Netflix, Inc.'s House of Cards to Come Crashing Down Anytime Soon and New Stock Coverage: Fast Money Flees Sprint Nextel Corporation.)
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